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Margaret represents insurers in connection with coverage issues and disputes arising under professional liability and general liability insurance policies. Margaret, a certified Legal Lean Sigma Institute (LLSI) White Belt, uses the LLSI process and project management tools to continually improve the value proposition the firm delivers to its clients.

The United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, applying West Virginia law, has held that claims against a surgery center arising out of medical procedures performed by a doctor while patients were anesthetized, primarily related to alleged sexual abuse, were “related claims” subject to a single limit of liability pursuant to a sexual misconduct endorsement.  Allied World Surplus Lines Ins. Co. v. Day Surgery Ltd. Liab. Co., 2020 WL 1545881 (S.D. W. Va.) (Mar. 31, 2020).  However, the court held that the surgery center’s excess policy, which did not contain a sexual misconduct endorsement, did not cover claims arising solely out of sexual abuse.

Continue Reading Claims Arising Out of Alleged Sexual Abuse by Doctor are “Related Claims” Subject to Single Limit of Liability Under Sexual Misconduct Endorsement

An Illinois intermediate appellate court, applying Illinois law, has held that an insurer must defend an attorney against a malpractice claim seeking damages for alleged negligence in the amount of fees paid to the attorney, concluding that the “legal fees” exclusion in the policy did not apply because the injury suffered by the claimant was not a consequence of the lawyer’s fees.  Illinois State Bar Ass’n Mut. Ins. Co.  v. Canulli, No. 1-19-0142 (Ill. App. Ct. March 13, 2020).

Continue Reading Insurer Must Defend Legal Malpractice Claim for Damages in the Amount of Fees Paid, Despite Carve Out of “Legal Fees” from Definition of “Damages”

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, applying Texas law, has held that an insurer could not deny coverage due to the insured’s failure to comply with “immaterial” conditions of notice, absent a showing of prejudice, where an insured complied with its “material” obligation to report a claim.  Landmark Am. Ins. Co. v. Lonergan Law Firm, P.L.L.C., 2020 WL 833068 (5th Cir. Feb. 19, 2020).

Continue Reading Absent Prejudice, Breach of Notice Conditions Does Not Relieve Insurer of Coverage Obligations

In a win for Wiley Rein’s client, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, applying Florida law, held that, as a matter of law, a lawsuit against an engineer arising out of three alleged errors in connection with a construction project constituted a single “claim” under the engineer’s claims-made-and-reported architects and engineers policies. Nova Southeastern Univ., Inc. v. Continental Cas. Co., No. 18-CIV-61842-RAR (S.D. Fla. Dec. 27, 2019).  Furthermore, the court held that the policies’ prior knowledge and prior notice provisions separately and independently barred coverage for the lawsuit.

Continue Reading Lawsuit Arising Out of Three Design Errors is a Single “Claim,” and Prior Knowledge and Prior Notice Provisions Bar Coverage

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, applying Connecticut law, has concluded that a fraud exclusion is not triggered where an insured unwittingly transferred a client’s funds to third-party fraudulent actors based on spoofed emails, because the fraudulent acts were not committed by the insured.  SS&C Techs. Holdings, Inc. v. AIG Specialty Ins. Co., No. 19-cv-7859 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 5, 2019).

Continue Reading Fraud Exclusion Inapplicable Where Insured Unwittingly Transferred Funds to Fraudsters

The United States District Court for the Western District of New York, applying New York law, held that an insurer did not owe a fiduciary duty to its insured when the insured was represented by independent defense counsel, nor did the insurer breach its contractual duties to its insured in paying defense costs, which ultimately exhausted the policy limit.  Korn v. Federal Ins. Co., 2019 WL 4277187 (W.D.N.Y. Sept 10, 2019).

Continue Reading Insurer Did Not Breach Any Duty to Insured Where Payment of Defense Costs Exhausted Policy Limit

The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, applying Florida law, held that a directors and officers liability insurance policy did not provide coverage for a claim asserted by a receiver seeking the return of bonus and other compensation amounts paid to a former director and officer of the company because (1) the policy’s profit exclusion applied; and (2) the claw back claim did not arise out of a “Wrongful Act.”  Desai v. Navigators Ins. Co., 2019 WL 3068398 (M.D. Fla. July 12, 2019).

Continue Reading No Coverage for Receiver’s Claw Back Claim Against D&O Because Profit Exclusion Applied and Claim Did Not Arise Out of a “Wrongful Act”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, applying Florida law, has held that a securities exclusion in a private company directors and officers insurance policy broadly barred coverage for all claims in an underlying lawsuit brought by former shareholders of an insured company arising out of the sale of their shares.  Colorado Boxed Beef Co., Inc. v. Evanston Ins. Co., No. 19-10326, 2019 WL 2479321 (11th Cir. June 13, 2019).

Continue Reading Eleventh Circuit Applies Securities Exclusion Broadly

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, applying California law, held that two lawsuits against a real estate broker involving his dual representation of buyers and sellers in the same real estate transaction arose from the same wrongful act, such that the second suit was deemed a claim first made at the time the first suit was filed—prior to the inception of the broker’s claims-made errors and omissions policy.  Martin v. QBE Ins. Corp., 2019 WL 2009874 (S.D. Cal. May 7, 2019).

Continue Reading Two Lawsuits Based on Real Estate Broker’s Dual Representation of Buyers and Sellers in Same Transaction Arise from Same Wrongful Act